For contractors, getting as many certifications as possible can help you enormously in building your construction business.
You will want position yourself as an authority within your industry.
One of the best ways to achieve that is by getting the EPA Certification for lead safety.
Anyone who is being paid to perform work which includes any alterations or disturbance of more than 6 square feet of an interior or 20 square feet of an exterior of lead paint in a housing or child-occupied facility built before 1978 is required to have this certification.
If you are a business advertising these services, you will be required to have a firm certification.
Non compliance with EPA Law could result in lose of contracts and up to $37,500 per day in fines from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The information below will provide you with everything you need to know, so you can get certified for lead paint today!
What Is Lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring chemical element found in the earth’s crust.
While it does have beneficial uses, it can also be toxic to humans and cause adverse health effects.
Lead exists in many parts of our environment including
- The water
- Many products used on a daily basis
- Plumbing materials and Pipes
- Pencils, Batteries, and Ammunition
Lead can also be emitted from industrial plants and cars, once released into the air it can travel long distances eventually settling into the ground.
Once in the ground, lead can stick to soil particles and can be found within groundwater.
As a Contractor or property manager, you will most commonly encounter lead in its paint form.
Homes built before 1978
Most commonly, lead is found in homes built before 1978. While some states banned its use even earlier, In 1978 the federal government banned the use of lead-based for consumer use across the board.
- Statistically, homes built between 1960-1977 have a 24% chance of containing lead-based paint, while homes built between 1940-1959 have a 69% chance.
- Homes built before 1940 have the highest risk at 87%. The EPA Certification for lead safety was a created as a response to the growing risks of lead poisoning to the general public.
Today lead paint is still present in homes across the country. Often it is present under layers of newer paint.
You should be able to not only identify and engage in safe lead paint removal but effectively communicate the hazards of peeling or chipping lead paint to home owners.
This makes you a tremendous asset to the public and an in-demand construction professional.
Preventing the spread of lead-contaminated dust dramatically decreases the chances of lead poising within a home. Because lead can travel long distances through the air it can also travel through:
- HVAC ducts
- Settle on windows
- Doors, Stairs, Railings
- Porches and even furniture
his presents a significant risk to children and anyone occupying a dwelling where lead paint may exist, but also a massive opportunity for you to be of service and create credibility and trust through education.
When obtaining your EPA Certification you will be tested on all aspects of lead and its health risks.
Pipes, Soil and Yards
Until 1986 lead pipes and lead solder was commonly used and is present in many pipes and hold holed plumbing materials and if not properly treated can slip into the water supply increasing the further risk of lead poisoning.
- As lead is a naturally occurring element, it can be highly concentrated within the soil.
- This can present a risk for children engaging in hand to mouth activity and also ingestion of vegetables grown from soil that may contain high levels of lead.
- One of the most effective ways to avoid tracking lead-contaminated soil into your home is by placing doormats at the entrance of your home.
As the construction professional, you may want to provide these tips and recommendations as part of a Lead Safety Audit you could offer to potential customers.
High-level exposure to lead can cause
- Damage to the brain
Studies have shown that Low-level exposure over a longer period of time can cause:
- Damage to blood cells and nervous system
- Severe adverse effects on young children and fetuses
- Shortened attention span
- Behavioral problems and delays in mental development
Small children, infants, and fetuses are at higher risk than adults as their bodies are not yet able to absorb the lead as a full-grown adult can.
Home Inspection for Lead Paint
Home buyers should know their rights before purchasing a property built pre-1978.
- Federal law requires that before being obligated under contract to purchase housing built before 1978 buyers must receive any known information concerning the presence of lead paint or lead-based paint hazards in the home or building.
- Buyers must also obtain a lead warning statement which confirms that the seller has complied with all state requirements.
A seller must also allow a 10-day period to conduct lead paint inspection and risk assessment. Lead paint can typically be identified by a Home Inspection Professional.
Operators of child care facilities often have the most at stake when it comes to ensuring that their place of business is safe and free of lead paint. Many of these laws have been created for the sole purpose of protecting children.
Lead abatement is the practice of reducing levels of lead, most often within a home with the ultimate goal of eliminating lead paint hazards and incidents of lead poisoning.
- A lead abatement contractors treat lead and do risk assessment.
- They also create management strategies designed to reduce the risk of lead poisoning.
The goal is to identify the risk before someone gets poisoned but often they are ordered by a state or government entity to assess the lead after someone has already gotten sick.
- Lead Abatement contractors engage in lead paint removal
- Lead abatement contractors are trained and certified through the CDPH (California Department of Public Health)
Lead Abatement Certification
The CDPH offers an individual certification, and once this is obtained you may apply for a firm certification which covers the company that you work with.
- The course is 24 hours on-site study at an approved facility.
- You are taught all of the proper ways to remove lead from a structure under California State Law. Lead abatement is an essential skill that all contractors should have.
- Again, this is about positioning yourself as the authority within your industry so that you can genuinely be of service to your clients.
Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP)
RRP projects are typically performed by companies hired by the property owner for the sole purpose of improving the property in some way.
These projects are not designed to eliminate lead paint from a property.
If a contractor is coming in and plans to break the surface or disturb the paint in any way on a house built before 1978, there is a high probability that the house contains lead paint.
Any alterations may create dust that can travel through through air ducts, soil or water and poison someone.
The EPA offers a specific lead certification for this type of construction professional commonly known as the EPA certification or Lead Safety Certification.
In this course, you are taught the proper ways to contain lead paint during a construction project and preventing its spread.
Contractors looking to obtain the lead certification would need to get an individual certification and may also apply for the Firm certification if they run a business that specializes in Renovation Repair and Painting.
What is the difference between Lead Renovation and Abatement?
Below is a side by side comparison of the main differences between an RRP Certification and a Lead Abatement Certification.
State Law Requires that at least one supervisor must be trained as a lead renovator.
Several construction activities including:
- Electrical Work
- Window Replacement
and most types of remodeling or repair that may involve the removal of lead paint.
Lead Abatement Certification
How Do I Get an EPA Certification?
The process to obtain an EPA Certification is quite simple.
- EPA Certifications are not offered online and must be taken in person at an EPA approved facility.
- The initial lead certification is an 8-hour course in which you learn all of the basics of containing lead paint.
What do you learn in a Lead Paint Course?
- You are taught about the different safety procedures and protective gear you will need to have to contain lead paint and get the job done effectively.
- Often you will be asked to create a mock house using paper and tape to demonstrate the correct ways to contain the dust, or other particles created.
- At the end of the course you will take an examination and when you pass the information is sent to the EPA and a few weeks they send you your EPA certification which is good for five years.
Before the end of the five-year mark, you will need to take an EPA refresher course to keep the certification active otherwise you will be required to retake the class from the beginning.
Licensed Contractor in California
EPA Certifications are critical in positioning yourself as the authority in your particular area of expertise that directly effects homeowners and their children.
Customers and clients want to know that you are experienced and highly knowledgable.
Tradesman possess skills that not many people on this planet have, so in many ways we must trust your word as consumers.
Repay that trust by investing in your career and learning as much as you can about how to protect your clients.
Put their interests first and you will be repaid in more way than you will ever know.